Remembering a Visionary: Hospital posthumously honors longtime board member, Betty Dunham

Photo by Dave Lein

The family of Betty Dunham gathered last Thursday at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center as officials honored the 41 years of service Dunham gave as a board member before she passed away July 26, 2017. Fellow board members, family and KMHC Administrator Kevin Rogols shared stories of Dunham’s insistence on asking the tough questions and tendency to speak her opinion.

 

KALKASKA – “Go out and ask the people what they need.” That was the advice Kalkaska Memorial Health Center Administrator Kevin Rogols remembered receiving from Betty Dunham while she served on the hospital board.

Memories and stories of Dunham’s commitment to the success of the local hospital were shared Thursday, July 19 during a special ceremony. The ceremony honored the 41 years of service Dunham gave as a board member before she passed away July 26, 2017.

The stories pointed to Dunham’s infamous feisty personality, her insistence on asking the tough questions and tendency to speak her opinion. Most of the speakers laughingly admitted that she was usually right.

“She was a very good leader and very outspoken. Sometimes that got her into trouble but you always knew where she was at,” said Jerry Gaultier, who served on the board with Dunham since 1976.

While on the board, Dunham continuously pushed for growth and expansion, even at great personal cost. During the ceremony it was shared that in the late 1970s, she mortgaged her farm while Gaultier mortgaged his business in order to help the hospital meet its payroll.

“The hospital wouldn’t be there today if it wasn’t for Betty. She’s the one who kept it going when things were bad,” stated Bethel Larabee, who also served on the board with Dunham.

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